Interleaving past and present

I’m currently writing a story with two timelines, one for Martin Devlin living through WWI and the second for his granddaughter, Grace Hansen, in the early 1990s. The storyline emerged over dinner one night at a cafe in Honfleur, a small town near Le Havre, France. My husband and I bandied ideas back and forth while enjoying dinner and a lovely bottle of wine.

Writing the story has proven much more difficult than I anticipated, with so much back and forth in time and with the mingling of scenes and Martin’s diary entries. After a major round of edits, I created two timelines for keeping the story together: one traced all chapters and the other traced only Martin’s timeline. To add to the complication, I had to consider the accuracy of what the particular – and very real – battalion was doing from 1915 to 1919.

I know there are software tools available to help with this sort of mapping but I used simple tables in Word (see samples below). If anyone else has suggestions, I’d love to hear.

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